Wednesday, August 27, 2014

An interview & giveaway with Melissa Cutler, author of RISKY BUSINESS (Bomb Squad Series, #1)



The rule of thumb that I’ve discovered is that the best interviews are given by interviewers who really know their interview subject.  So, as a special treat for Read Your Writes readers, I thought I’d interview myself, because who better to ask the hard, probing questions than the person who knows me best???
Do you actually type “The End”?
I don’t. I think it’s a rather silly idea that takes away impact from the last sentence, which I like to imagine hovering in the air all around my laptop, a tangible force humming with energy.  Also, I rarely ever write the ending last.  I usually write the end of the book somewhere near the beginning of the writing process.  The one exception to this was HOT ON THE HUNT, which I actually did write the final scene last.  Usually, the final scene I must write in order to finish the book is located somewhere around the 75% point in the manuscript.
With Risky Business, I had the ending written really early on in the writing process.  If memory serves, I wrote the first, second, and third chapters, and then I wrote the ending.  You might find it interesting to know that when I finish writing a book, I usually cry like a baby for a while as part of my adrenaline crash.
But that’s not the only time you cry while writing…
Good point, Interviewer Melissa.  I weep a lot while writing.  I’ve got what I like to call “easy tears”.  I cry at commercials, cry when other people are super happy, cry at funerals for people I’ve never met, so I figure, if a scene that’s supposed to be emotionally powerful DOESN’T make me cry, then I need to go back to the drawing board. I think having “easy tears”, having my emotions close to the surface, is a real asset as a writer.  I embrace that quality in myself.
How did you pitch the Bomb Squad hockey series to your agent?
Excellent question!  We were out at lunch and I looked her square in the face and said, “Picture this: the Erie Canal”.  And she looked at me like I was nuts because nobody wants to read a romance about the Erie Canal, lol!  The hard truth is that I’m terrible at verbal pitches, but I’m a dynamo with the written word and so I assured my agent that I’d stop speaking of it immediately and email her the first chapter.  Although the small town along the Erie Canal that RISKY BUSINESS is set it is the perfect setting for my story, the real pitch is that the books are about the players on a men’s league ice hockey team for wounded veterans finding love after they’ve been granted a second chance at life.
What kind of research did you do?
I really hate that question.  Next.
Cocoa Pebbles or Lucky Charms?
Cocoa Pebbles.  Duh.  What the hell kind of rookie interviewer are you? (ahem)
Lemon or chocolate?
Lemon.
How did you come up with Allison and Theo’s names?
Funny you should ask that, Interviewer Melissa.  I named Theo after an actual NHL hockey player named Theoren Fleury.  Not that Mr. Fleury and my character have anything in common, but I always loved that name, Theoren, long before I knew I was going to be a writer someday.
Allison is named after one of my favorite all-time contestants on the TV show So You Think You Can Dance.  Love that name because it’s not cutesy and not overly serious, and I have a weird preoccupation with naming characters “A” names (Allison, Avery, Alicia, Amy, Aaron…) I’ve now vowed to myself not to name any more characters “A” names for a while.
What’s one aspect of writing that you don’t like?
I don’t like to write about people’s clothes or hair.  At all.  Usually, my editors have to instruct me to go back through my manuscripts and add details about the way people look, and I try to get away with not writing those elements whenever possible.  That’s the cool thing about writing blue collar heroes and heroines: they wear a lot of T-shirts and jeans.  Or, in the case of my black ops agents, cargo pants.  (Smile) Honestly, I really like readers to be able to draw their own conclusions about what characters look like.  I think most readers paint a picture in their minds about characters’ appearances based on dialogue, which is a purer way to tap reader imagination, in my not-so-humble opinion.
What’s your favorite scene in RISKY BUSINESS?
The whole sequence of Theo driving Allison to the store in the middle of the night to buy children’s fever medicine is my very favorite.  It makes me cry every time.  Also, I have a weakness for Chelsea, Allison’s irresponsible gypsy of a sister.  I love her.  No, I ADORE her.  I know that all readers won’t feel that way about her because she’s a really polarizing character, but I loved writing her scenes.
Which book is up next?
My next release is this October with THE MISTLETOE EFFECT, a Christmas-themed “Marriage of Convenience” story, Texas style.  It’s a cowboy romance that’s very lighthearted and a ton of fun.  I’d always wanted to write a Marriage of Convenience story because I love reading them, and it was even more fun than I’d anticipated.
Well, thank you for answering my questions, Author Melissa.
Good times, Interviewer Melissa!
And, to whet your appetite for RISKY BUSINESS, here’s a scene from the book for you to enjoy…
As of a few hours ago, Allison had a new mantra. Don’t think about it.

She could live with the aggravation and desperation that Theoren evoked in her, as long as it kept her from the other thought threatening to take precedence in her mind—that thought being about how he’d looked wearing nothing but a pair of sopping wet boxer shorts, as he had been a few short hours earlier on the deck of his houseboat.

Nope. Because she was his boss and that would be totally inappropriate.

He paced to the sink and paused to stare out the window. Allison’s eyes settled on his backside, now clad in worn jeans.

Don’t think about it.

She wrenched her gaze to the table and the cup of chamomile tea she’d poured an hour earlier. It was cold now, but she couldn’t bring herself to bully past him to the microwave to warm it up.
“Theoren... will you just sit down so we can talked about this civilly?”

“It’s Theo. And what was it that you wanted to civilly talk about?”

For the moment, annoyance won the battle over her desperation—and lust. “Don’t play stupid. You know we have a lot to talk about or else you wouldn’t still be here throwing a tantrum like a…like a…hungry bear.”

He prowled to the table, narrow eyed, and braced his hands on it, leaning toward her. “Have you ever seen a hungry bear? Because they don’t throw tantrums. They devour.”

She mimicked his pose, leaning in, getting in his face. “Are you going to devour me?” The second the words crossed her lips, her cheeks heated.

Stop thinking about that, Allison. For real, this time.

(I love that scene so much! That Theo is such a grouch sometimes… *swoon*)
From the back cover of Risky Business:
A heated match-up begins…

Welcome to Destiny Falls, New York, home of Bomb Squad—an ice hockey team full of rugged military heroes. But the season’s biggest match-up isn’t on the ice as one of their own prepares to go head to head with his new boss…
Allison Whitely’s ex left her with a mountain of debt and Cloud Nine, a struggling boat rental business. With zero job skills, her only hope of getting back in the black lies in a brooding ex-soldier who has her seeing red…
Theo Lacroix’s teammates are counting on their star player to help them win an upcoming high profile hockey game. But when a sexy tornado of a woman sweeps into town and expects him to help her with Cloud Nine, Theo is tempted to skate away from it all.
Theo vowed to never again be someone’s knight in shining armor, but his feelings—and desire—for Allison are becoming harder to ignore. He longs to save her, but to win Allison’s love, he’ll have to throw out his old playbook and take the ultimate risk…playing from the heart.
RISKY BUSINESS is available at all major e-retailers::

Click here for my review of Risky Business
I’ve got a special treat for one lucky commenter: a $10 Amazon e-gift card. For a chance to win, please comment on this post by answering this question: If you could interview anyone—living or dead, real or fiction—who would it be? I can’t wait to read your answers!

Melissa Cutler knows she has the best job in the world writing sexy contemporary romances and romantic suspense. She was struck at an early age by an unrelenting travel bug and is probably planning her next vacation as you read this. When she's not globetrotting, she's enjoying Southern California's flip-flop wearing weather and wrangling two rambunctious kids. She loves hearing from readers at melissa@melissacutler.net, or on Facebook (www.facebook.com/MelissaCutlerBooks ) and Twitter (@m_cutler). Visit www.melissacutler.net to learn more about Melissa and her books and don’t forget to sign up for her newsletter: http://bit.ly/16mkpCs




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58 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Doug Gilmour... Or William Shakespeare. Lol.

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  3. Hi Joy.

    A hockey player or Shakespeare... That's a tough one!

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  4. Hi everyone! Kim M, thank you for having me on the blog today.

    Kimberlyindy - what a great idea! I'd love to interview Laura Ingalls Wilder. My mom read me the entire series aloud when I was a child. Such fond memories!

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    1. Thank you for appearing and for doing the interview. I LOVED it!!!!

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  5. Love the interview, that was so much fun! I would love to interview Mr. Hockey, Gordie Howe because I'm sure he would have so many interesting stories to tell since he had played hockey in so many decades. I can't wait to read Risky Business!

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    1. I really liked Risky Business. I'm pretty close to saying love. I think I might have almost cried. I have to say I know absolutely NOTHING about hockey. But the guys look all nice in their uniforms.

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  6. Mine would be Marilyn Monroe -

    thanks for the giveaway!

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  7. Replies
    1. Oh WOW!!! That interview would totally be over my head.

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  8. I would love to interview President Lincoln

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  9. I think I would chose Agatha Christie

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    Replies
    1. That would be amazing. I would love to see what she thought of today's mystery writers and the way the genre has split.

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  10. Freddie Mercury - the guys a legend :)
    Thanks for the chance :)

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    Replies
    1. Queen? That would be awesome. He was amazing.

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  11. Hmmm tough question! I've been on a bit of a history kick lately so in honor of the 200th anniversary of the British burning the White House during the War of 1812 I'd have to say I'd love to interview Dolly Madison, imagine the stories she could tell!

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    1. You are truly a history buff. That was an interesting period of time.

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  12. I think I would like to interview President Reagan, or President Kennedy, both would be very interesting to talk to. I keep thinking if more people Martin Luther King Jr., and the new pope. It would be hard to pick one person, I'm kind of indecisive I guess.

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    1. I like that. President wise, I would say Clinton. But just because I want to know what he did or said to have Hillary still be with him.

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  13. Jane Austen for sure! Her literary works started me on my love for romance novels. Btw, I loved every minute of Risky Business, such a great book!

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  14. I would interview Meryl Streep. I am fascinated by her!

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  15. Replies
    1. I have to read about this person. I hear the name a lot.

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    2. Tracy, you say that name and all I want to do is rush to my kindle and start reading. Great idea to interview him!

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  16. I would love to interview Laura Ingalles Wilder. Love that time period. Those were the books that got me hooked in reading!

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    1. Hey Shari.

      I remember have a student teacher read the books to us in school. Her name was Laura Engels and I thought it was her!

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  17. Okay, I'm not entering the contest. But I have to say I would LOVE to sit down with all the characters from the ICE Black Ops Series. It's no secret that I LOVE that series and the characters are all amazing. Wait... I need to go read a couple of pages for HOT ON THE HUNT.

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    1. Ha! Great answer, Kim. I miss those guys and ladies. :(

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  18. I can't wait to start reading your books. Where have you been all my life? Lol! Thanks for the interview and really? Lemon over chocolate?

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    1. lol, Debbie. Heck yeah, lemon! Thank you so much for stopping by the blog.

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  19. If I could interview anyone it would be Laura Ingalls Wilder.I enjoy reading her books. Thank you for the opportunity to win.

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  20. I think Ernest Hemingway would be a fascinating person to interview.

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    Replies
    1. Definitely would be a fascinating interview.

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  21. Edgar Allan Poe would be extremely interesting.

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    Replies
    1. Edgar Allan Poe would be interesting. But I think a little scary too.

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  22. That was a really interesting interview, :).

    I'd probably interview a hockey player or Alexander the Great.

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  23. Charles Dickens. My all time favorite book is Oliver Twist. I want to know how it came about.

    P.S. glad to see you had the right answerss

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    1. Oh my gosh! I've never read Oliver Twist. It wasn't a required reading book for me in school, much to my older brother's disappointment.

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  24. Great interview questions and answers! ;) I would love to interview my favourite author Nora Roberts. I think she'd be a fascinating person to talk with. Also, I'd love to know how she keeps her motivation up for writing so many books a year! :)

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    1. Nora Roberts is a REALLY good choice. I thought about her for my own answer. But then I thought I wouldn't be able to talk to her. I saw her at an event once and I couldn't get myself to walk up to her.

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    2. I would be nervous too! I think I'd have to take time to prepare myself beforehand :)

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    3. Okay, so I was attending a Harlequin party that Nora was attending and she was on the dance floor, dancing like she was born to move. So I made it my goal that night to bump butts with her on the dance floor. After a while, I worked up the nerve and I actually did it! But then I apologized so fast. I was so embarrassed, yet proud of myself!

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    4. I love that! And who else would have that memory now! :) To be in the same room with Nora would be amazing and intimidating all at once.

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  25. Okay, so seriously you guys.... I would love to just sit down and hang out and be BFF's with Melissa Cutler. This lady is so freaking nice. Plus she could make me all the amazing drinks she talks about.

    But I don't get the Lemon over Chocolate when Cocoa Pebbles won out.

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    1. Hugs to you, Kim!!! We should totally be BFFs!

      There's no good lemon-flavored breakfast cereal, I'm just sayin'. And chocolate beats fake marshmallows any day. :-)

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  26. I love your sense of humor and your books are among my favorites :)

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  27. Joan of Arc she's always fascinated me.

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  28. I'd want to interview Kate Middleton, she's just so down to earth, I'd love to hear how she takes to all this royal focus!! And talk about Baby George :D

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  29. ******CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED******
    The winner selected via Random.Org is..... Sabrina Robert.

    Sabrina, please email me via the blog. You can find the email address on under "The Reviewers" tab.
    http://readyourwrites.blogspot.com/p/about-me.html

    Thank you to everyone who stopped by and commented.

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